Multi-axis slicing for solid freeform fabrication (SFF) manufacturing processes can yield non-uniform thickness layers, or 3D layers. Using the traditional parallel layer construction approach to build such a layer leads to a staircase which requires machining or other post processing to form the desired shape. This paper presents a direct 3D layer deposition approach. This approach uses an empirical model to predict the layer thickness based on experimental data. The toolpath between layers is not parallel; instead, it follows the final shape of the designed geometry and the distance between the toolpath in the adjacent layers varies at different locations. Directly depositing a 3D layer not only eliminates the staircase effect, but also improves the manufacturing efficiency by shortening the deposition and machining times. Experiments are conducted that demonstrate these advantages. Thus, the 3D deposition method is a beneficial addition to the traditional parallel deposition method.

Meeting Name

19th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium (2008: Aug. 4-6, Austin, TX)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center


This research was supported by the National Science Foundation grants DMI-9871185 and IIP-0637796, and a grant from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory contract # FA8650-04-C-5704. Support from Boeing Phantom Works, Product Innovation and Engineering, LLC, Spartan Light Metal Products Inc, Missouri S&T Intelligent Systems Center, and the Missouri S&T Manufacturing Engineering Program, is also greatly appreciated.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type




Publication Date

06 Aug 2008

Included in

Manufacturing Commons